One theme to rule them all

If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you may already know that we recently released our first theme to the official WordPress repository.  It’s called Museum Core.

Museum Core is the product of over a year of development.  A solid foundation built on responsive design, HTML5 and CSS3, with a theme options page that is secure and flexible.  It also supports localization into any language you want.  In less than a month, it’s already been downloaded more than 3,000 times.

Core marks the beginning of our shift in scope for Museum Themes.  Rather than maintaining dozens of different themes independently, all themes, past and future, will become child themes of Core.  Additionally, we’ll be using Core to build WordPress versions of our most popular and favorite Blogger templates — we’ve already released WordPress versions of Grandma’s Hat Box and dear Audrey, and more are on the way.  Soon all our themes will be driven by the powerful Core framework, while maintaining the same level of customization options they currently offer.

Exciting things are coming in the next few months for Museum Themes.  For now, here’s our promo video for Core and some more information about what it supports.

Here’s a list of some of the features in Museum Core:

  • customizable sidebar (left or right)
  • full posts or excerpts on main blog page and archive pages (excerpts support post thumbnails)
  • customizable footer text (no hard-coded author credit)
  • five typeface options for 3 different locations (headings, body and alternate) with an eye for international language support
  • customizable link colors via an easy-to-use color-picker
  • custom favicon
  • optional support for Twitter hovercards
  • responsive design that supports smaller screens and mobile
  • supports all WordPress post formats with different layouts optimized for each
  • internationalization support.  Complete Polish translation in 1.0.9 courtesy of anemoone.

 

Buh-bye to Wave

In a long line of “wow that’s not really a surprise at all”‘s, Google has dropped (or is dropping, or is no longer actively developing at any rate) Wave. Cause of death: lack of user adoption. In a blog post today, Google announced that, while they still think Wave is awesome, everyone else didn’t immediately agree, so they’re calling it in.

Now my guess is it’ll be integrated into something else. ChromeOS perhaps? A standalone messenger? Upgrade to Gtalk? But I can’t say I’m surprised. As Mashable points out, there was a tremendous buzz that dwindled almost immediately after the official release as everyone collectively scratched their heads and said “wtf?” Some people (notably the guys at Fantasy Brewmasters) made good use of it, but on the whole, Wave was underwhelming. I do hope to see the live writing thing make a comeback. Here’s hoping…

adobe fights fire with…teddy bears

Adobe launched a new ad campaign today along with a response to Steve Jobs’ declaration that Flash will never be supported on iPhones, iPads, and iPods last week.  (In fact, they’ve added a whole new Freedom of Choice section on Adobe.com.)  There are a few amusing (and somewhat contradictory) statements in Adobe’s open letter (like this one: “If the web fragments into closed systems…their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the Internet a revolutionary force.” Um, seriously Adobe?  You just said that?  After swallowing your smaller rival Macromedia to become a monopoly in web development and design software and — as a bonus — acquire the very technology we’re having this open/closed argument about, you’re talking about closed systems (hint: Flash is a closed system) coming at the expense of creativity and innovation?  Really?), but you can read it for yourself on Adobe’s site.

What I find most interesting about this new love campaign isn’t even positioning Apple as the bad guy and Adobe as the ones really interested in freedom and openness (while authoring — and trying to save — a patently closed and proprietary system).  (Also note: “open markets“, as described in their letter, is entirely different from “open standards” or “open source“.)  I’m interested in the fact that all of this love is aimed not at consumers — who don’t give a crap what powers the stuff they do on the internet and who will, regardless of what comes of the Adobe vs. Apple feud, still buy iPads, iPods and iPhones — it’s aimed at developers.  It’s aimed at designers.  It’s a desperate we-just-made-massive-improvements-to-authoring-Flash-apps-with-CS5-and-we-don’t-want-to-lose-money plea to not abandon Adobe to open standards and HTML5 and everything else Steve was preaching about in his letter.  Apple is not going to change their stance.  Ever.  This letter was designed to get the people who make Flash apps to not reconsider making those apps with Flash and using something else instead.

What’s also interesting is that, weren’t we just talking about a possible lawsuit against Apple?  Now, “We love Apple”?  Really?  What was that thing that one guy who preached all about love said right before he was carted away…something like “Judas, must you betray me with a kiss?”

[audio:devo_freedom-of-choice.mp3]

signs that Adobe Flash is on the way out

i’ll spare the discussion of how Flash is dead because Steve Jobs says it is.

while i agree with him on all of his points, i’m not really into the all bow to the great and mighty Steve camp, even while the rest of the industry bows to the great and mighty Steve.  (i may think it’s just a tad bit snotty for Steve to simply not support a development platform that’s become so ubiquitous as to be an industry standard, but i can’t deny that it’s his prerogative as a hardware and software manufacturer to support — or not — any platform he wants.  adobe wants to sue apple?  please.  on what possible grounds?  hardware doesn’t support software all the time, even to the point that intel-based Macs don’t run some of the software that non-intel-based Macs can run, and vice versa. what makes this issue any different than apple not supporting windows software?  i would like to wish adobe luck; if they win, it could set a precedent that would lead to the end of OS-specific software, which, in a way, is sort of what adobe is trying to do anyway with Flash and Air.)

i also don’t think the iPad is the be-all end-all technology product.  but there are some interesting trends.  and i do think it will change the way we think of computing and, in particular, how we look at the web.  (i don’t think this because i see apple as being able to single-handedly define our web browsing experience.  remember that little thing that Google announced six months or so ago, the ChromeOS?  and how the OS would only work on specially-designed hardware, about how the operating system, essentially, was the internet, about how the internet would be changing and blah blah blah, remember all that?  and all the people at the official announcement were busily typing into their netbooks thinking that this would be a netbook operating system but how could anyone want to run this netbook operating system when there wasn’t any actual software and had such limited features…kind of sounds like the iPad now, doesn’t it?  one major technology company with their fingers deep into the pot of user experience of the web with the most popular mobile browsing device — the iPhone — does not necessarily define the direction of the industry and the web (although it could).  two major technology companies with their fingers deep into the pot of user experience of the web — one of which is essentially the name brand of search — just might.)

this, however, is the interesting juxtaposition of information that i think is particularly telling about the demise of Flash as a standardized development platform:

the iPad is used, predominantly, by well-to-do men in the 35-44 age bracket.  it’s not the young geeks (like me) probably because we don’t have the cash to throw around to buy one (and are probably spending more time texting and listening to tunes at any rate, things that make the iPhone a better fit, although half of them also have an iPhone).  [source: Mashable — iPad: The Device of the Rich?]

the top 10 luxury brands (as reported by Forbes in 2009) fail to work on iDevices (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) because they use Flash.  some of them — most notably Gucci — have some functionality, but 6 out of 10 die when faced with a Flash-less browser, and of the broken 4, only Gucci has any real functionality.  [source: PSFK — Top 10 Luxury Brands’ Sites Fail To Work On iPad]

it doesn’t take a genius to do the math.  rich, older guys (older than me at any rate) — guys who probably largely resemble jon stewart, pictured above — are the ones buying iPads, but the top 10 luxury brands (read: stuff that rich guys — and gals — like to buy) can’t be viewed on iPads because they use Flash.  the makers of luxury products want the rich guys and gals with disposable incomes (the ones that buy iPads) to buy their stuff, so they are going to have to redesign their sites to use HTML5 or at least provide a non-Flash alternative.  more will follow.  eventually, whether Adobe likes it or not, whether HTML5 skeptics and detractors like it or not, whether HTML5 is really ready or not, HTML5 will become the de facto standard because people want their sites to be viewable on more platforms.

that’s why adobe is pissed off, and they have a point.  but so does Jobs.  HTML5 is an open platform.  Flash is not; Flash is owned by Adobe and, as such, developers need to wait for Adobe to add new features to be able to expand and innovate their software.  That is not the case with an open platform.  in the end, i think Jobs’ points trump Adobe’s.  even if Google makes a tablet, and HP makes a tablet, and Amazon upgrades the Kindle to be more tablet-like, and they all support Flash, the very fact that Jobs has put his foot down in a “not gonna do it” sort of way means that brands and developers will need to decide whether to build a site that can be viewed on a mobile Apple product or…not.  i think the one million iPads sold in the first month and the most popular mobile phone crowns can suggest what direction that will go.